Saturday, June 17, 2017

Last Full Measure of Devotion

Tell your Mama!!- Chris Rock's dad

Some might say that a good mom has the most thankless task there is, doing a thousand-and-one things a day for her kids, her husband, her home.

And so we try to remember, and still must be reminded (as Chris Rock's dad reminded his kids), to show appreciation to that woman who devoted herself to our well-being.

But there is another, isn't there, who deserves our thanks and gratitude for sacrifices made.

When Abraham Lincoln composed the Gettysburg Address, he had in mind a tribute to those who fought, but especially to those who laid down their lives on that field.

Husbands, in like manner, are called on to lay down their lives for their wives, just as Christ laid down his for his Church.

Now who can possibly perfectly imitate Christ? Yet the command is there and on this Dad's day, I am reminded of those men I have known who lived their lives according to this principle.

One of my elders at GPC is fond of saying, "There's nothing in the world like being married."

"This woman you gave me," is the first recorded complaint of a married man about the temptation through which his mate had put him.

Still we are called on to lead in love and devotion and in the authority which God has given us.

So no excuses, guys. Sometimes we have to stand for what is right, even when we are not sure what that is.

Thank God then for the women who speak loving words of encouragement and advice into the hearts of their men, never seeking to control them (for that is the curse and the temptation) but desiring always that their husbands live godly lives. For the good of the family and the glory of God.

Which brings me back to Dad.

Late in his life, after I was a grown boy, I came to understand how much he loved us kids and our mother.

I somehow attained enough good sense to be able to perceive that love, which was expressed throughout our lives, not so much in words, but in the way he led his family and set the example before us.

More than my own adventures in marriage, the hours spent with him in conversations of remembrance of bitter times showed me how hard it is to remain married (even to the best of women) and to be a good father.

And what devotion is required.

Our fathers set the bar so high.

Only by the grace of God can we hope to emulate them.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Braxton Is Going Home

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning O LORD; in the morning  will  I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. -Psalm 5:3

We know that prayer changes things, don't we? But perhaps the thing that changes most, without our even realizing it, is us.

In times of trouble, we pray. Whenever there is sorrow, we pray. We pray when we are afraid.

We cry out in faith to our Maker and anxiously await His answer.

And through prayer we learn of God's faithfulness. Then prayer becomes a sought-after communing with our Father in heaven and we pray joyfully and at all times.

I thank God for godly moms and dads, in my family and in my church, and everywhere that there are godly moms and dads. 

All their lives they will pray for their children and will teach their children to pray and to love Jesus.

I thank God for my own mother and father who lifted up who knows (except God alone) how many prayers for my well being, but mostly for my salvation.

I think of the prayers that have lifted up my youngest great-grandson and his mom and dad and I am thankful for the gift of prayer and those Christian people who employ it to intercede for family and friends and even perhaps for strangers of whose need we are aware.

So thanks to you all and thanks to God the Spirit for moving you to pray on behalf of Braxton Wayne Anderson.

May we ever pray without ceasing.

Friday, April 7, 2017

If Ever I Forget You

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. -Psalm 116:15

If ever I should forget you, let all memory be gone from me.

If I should cease to think of you daily, let me cease to think.

Let me not weary my friends with my recalling but if I should cease to speak of you, let me cease to speak.

But I will not forget and every day a half-forgotten recollection will creep forth to surprise me, to delight me, to heal me.

And I will meditate on how I waited half my life for you and that which we shared was worth the waiting.

And I will speak to those who loved you that we might re-live the joy of that love, and to those I wish had known you that, in some way, they might experience you in the sharing.

I am convinced that yours will be the second face I behold when I open my eyes in heaven.

For we will meet again.

And I will remember you.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Premises In the Dark

Apologies to Pat Benatar

Re-watched Sinister the other day with Sandy. She had never seen it and needed to watch a well made horror film.

I hadn't seen it since it was in theaters in 2012, so there were several of the "gotcha" moments I had forgotten. They got me.

Which brings me to several complaints about these fright-fests.

If you have the electricity turned on in your house (and they did), why are you investigating strange noises in the night with no light but a tiny flashlight with nearly expired batteries?

Also, why are you not checking behind that door when you enter a room?

And what about that baseball bat left over from your little league days? Even the kids in "Stranger Things" had enough sense to drive four or five nails through theirs.

I can't think of a single reason why any sane person would want to go into their basement. Ever. I mean if it's flooding, call the plumber. let HIM go down there!

I won't even mention moving your family into a house where a notorious (and unsolved) murder has taken place. Don't we need a little suspension of disbelief here?

I will say that if it has been your dream to make a movie, you don't have to go around doing all that Ed Wood stuff (Bela Lugosi is dead after all). Just mention that you're making a horror film and apparently the sky will begin to rain 100's and 1000's.

It's the only explanation I can come up with for why there are SO many utterly wretched horror movies on Netflix.

That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What Is...?

...with no other thought than to love and be loved by me. -Edgar Allan Poe

He: O you who dwell in the gardens, with companions listening for your voice; let me hear it.
She: Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices. -Songs 8:13-14

Let us sing of love and meditate on it, this day after Valentine's.

Let us throw away sentiment and attempt to grasp in the depths of our understanding what is real.

If perfect love casts out fear, why are you afraid?

Is it because fear is sin and we know sin touches all we do?

But isn't there a love wherein desire transcends the physical so that the very spirit within you aches for that which you love?

A place where all thought of self is cast aside and the giving of joy, pleasure, happiness becomes the sole aim , the focus, the alone source of joy, pleasure, happiness?

Can it be so?

It must be.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death....-Songs 8:6a

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Through Eyes of Faith

I opened my kitchen blind this Sabbath morning and beheld a rainbow, outlined in pastel against the gray of a partially overcast and rainy sky.

From the east the sun cast a golden glow and the bow seemed to rest in the distance on a gold-hued tree, as though the myth of rainbow's end were true.

Strangely, I had just read this sentence: "We no longer love the things we were created to love in the purity and innocence that Adam knew before the fall."

Which brought to mind a particular piece of music which I have been enjoying over the last week:

Such aural and visual richness has been indescribable to me, as has been the joy with I experienced it and shared it.

Surely, I thought, the writer of the sentence is wrong. Surely the love inspired by such beauty must be pure and innocent, as are the meditations upon it.

And then the rainbow. Reminding me of the first rainbow and its promise.

But "I ain't so hot," as Jimmy Cagney once observed. So even my reflections upon beauty observed are tainted somehow?

Perhaps, though, looking through eyes of faith, there can be a nearness to the wonder and awe our first parents felt when encountering the new and perfect world.

And perhaps an anticipation of all things being made new and the assurance that in my flesh I shall see God, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There Is a Season

...and a time to every purpose under heaven. -Ecclesiastes 3:1b

It seems as if we have proceeded from summer directly into winter here in NW TN.

 I exaggerate (slightly?) but the turning of the leaves has been the extent of our autumnal experience in absence of the gradual decline in temperatures that is generally the norm around here.

As you see, the regularity of seasonal change is part of the pattern of our lives and so we take notice when there are perceived irregularities.

Have you noticed that there is a similar rhythm in the flow of our lives?  This is noted by the Preacher in the opening chapters of Ecclesiastes.

In case you're wondering, the beginnings of these musings are as simple as pictures on a wall. Six of them, in fact.

The first is of Joyce, Sandy and me in 19th Century regalia, a riverboat gambler and his family.

Below it is a portrait of Joyce and me, done by Sandy. We are older now, all in black against a blue background.

Below this, arrayed on either side, are four photos of each of our parents. Dads are in the uniform of the U.S. Navy and moms are depicted in their teens. All of them would have been roughly eighteen years of age.

Amazing, isn't it, to think of our parents as teenagers.

Which leads to meditations on the march of time and the nature of things (back to those seasons, hmm?)

I was blessed to be in the home of two dear friends this past Thanksgiving Day. Of all the blessings of the day, the blessing of family was most apparent. Children of children, and their children, filled the spacious home.

It is much the same at GPC. We are a young congregation (excluding myself and a couple of others). Children (and babies!) are everywhere!

It is a season for growing and learning in their lives. And the interaction between young and old is a joy to behold and be part of.

For the young parents, it is a season for creating memories, strengthening bonds of love and sacrificing that these babes might grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

I will admit I have wondered, watching all this over the past few months, whether God might bring someone special into my life.

And as I sit in Sunday School sharing His Word with three bright young minds, as I sit, on Sunday evenings, in a nursery crackling with youthful energy, it occurs to me:

He already has.